Matt Reynolds/ JSU The Jacksonville State men's basketball team was not able to be the first league opponent to take down first-place Belmont Thursday at Pete Mathews Coliseum, falling 66-53. Tyrik Edwards (4).
Matt Reynolds/ JSU  Freshman Tyrik Edwards looks to pass the ball during a game against Belmont on February 9, 2017. Edwards had a career-high 19 points in a victory over SIUE on Saturday.

Rebekah Hawkins, Staff Reporter

After falling behind in the first half against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, the Gamecocks rallied in the second to win 72-61.

Tyrik Edwards had a record night with 19 points against the Cougars. Norbertas Giga also had ten points on the night and Greg Tucker was a perfect 6-for-6 on free throws for the night.

The Gamecocks struggled to find their footing early in the game.

SIUE started off with a three-pointer from Josh White that set the tone for the beginning of the half. The Gamecocks fell behind steadily as the Cougars jumped out to a six point lead 12-6. With the help of Ashton Spears and Giga, the Gamecocks cut the lead to just one. SIUE pushed it back out to three but a foul from them gave Jacara Cross the opportunity to cut the lead back down to one at 17-16.

Free throws from Erik Durham finally gave the Gamecocks a tie, and then the lead. The Cougars seemed to freeze and the Gamecocks steadily climbed the scoreboard. Durham continued to help with a successful three-pointer and another layup that gave the Gamecocks the largest lead of the night so far at ten.

Before the end of the half the Cougars managed to hit a jumper that cut the Gamecocks lead to just eight. At the end of half the Gamecocks led 29-21.

At the opening of the second half Giga hit a quick jumper to put the Gamecocks back out by ten.

The Cougars tried for a comeback as they chipped away at the Gamecocks’ lead. SIUE’s White had five points including a three-pointer that cut the Gamecocks’ lead to just three at 32-29. JSU’s Malcolm Drumwright hit a jumper that pushed the Gamecocks out ahead by five.

The Cougars’ Ellis Christian hit a layup followed by another by Brandon Jackson to cut the Gamecocks’ lead to only one. It was the closest that SIUE would be to a comeback.

Drumwright started the Gamecocks’ climb back to the top with a three-pointer. It was his only made three-pointer of the game. The Gamecocks quickly got back out ahead by ten 43-33 and continued to stay ahead.

At the eight-minute mark the Cougars closed back in by five after a few good free throws from White.

They were able to come within four later but the Gamecocks took the lead back out to ten and stayed ahead by at least seven for the remaining minutes of the game.

At three minutes the Gamecocks moved ahead by 11 with a layup by Christian Cunningham to bring the score to 60-49. The clock dwindled and the Gamecocks stayed ahead by double digits. The Cougars cut the lead to ten but that was as close as they came to bringing it back to singles.

JSU is now 7-4 in OVC play and sits third in the standings behind Morehead State. The Gamecocks return home to play undefeated OVC leader Belmont on Feb. 9.

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